In the movie “Justice League,” why is Superman so strong? Superman doesn’t have too much power. Most of the time, the movie just wanted to hint at how strong he can be. If he doesn’t hold back, he is the strongest hero.
Superman, what about him? He wasn’t, and he didn’t show even a tenth of the incredible power he has in the comics.
Who is Superman?
In 1938, Superman made his first appearance in Action Comics #1. This began the Golden Age of superhero comics. The last child of a dying planet was brought to Earth, where he learned amazing skills and vowed to use them to help the poor. In just a few paragraphs, he saved an innocent woman from being put to death, defended a woman who was a victim of domestic violence, fought a corrupt politician, and saved Lois Lane from a thug.
His adventures would get a lot bigger over time, inspiring generations of writers in comics, radio, TV, movies, and video games to write about the Man of Steel and his many enemies and allies in their own way. Even though Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster created a very popular genre, there has been a lot of discussion about where their work fits in.
SUPERMAN IS NOT TOO STRONG
Superman possesses numerous abilities. He can fly, he’s super strong, he’s almost indestructible, he can shoot lasers from his eyes, see through walls, see and hear things from very far away with surprising accuracy, and he can exhale so hard that he can put out fires. He is also very smart, strong enough to fly around in space without any protection, and fast enough to go back and forth through time.
No matter which superpowers you accept as canon, the strength of each individual superhero has always depended on who wrote them and where they lived. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man was arguably just as powerful as Superman. He had different sets of power armor with all kinds of weapons and protections, a genius-level intelligence, and an endless supply of money. Tony Stark just used a different way of thinking. If Captain Marvel or Thor went up against Superman, they would probably have about the same chances as Wonder Woman or Shazam.
You can argue against this assessment by pointing out that these other characters have limits, like Iron Man having to wear his suit, but the MCU suffers from the same problem that other superheroes have: their powers grow over time. Over time, Tony Stark’s armor got easier to make, until it was as easy as Clark Kent needing to find a phone booth to change clothes. The best writers see Superman’s strength as a chance, not a problem, and use him, like they do with Thor, to tell epic stories with aliens and mythological characters who can be a good challenge.
Superman’s power is limited by a lot of things, not just the obvious ones like Kryptonite and lead shields, which are pretty weak. Superman isn’t more resistant to magic or mental attacks than any other superhero. In fact, he’s pretty weak against anything to do with energy, and all of his powers go away if he’s not near a yellow sun. These limitations have been used in creative ways in a number of stories that don’t involve two very strong, very tough people beating each other up until one of them wins.
When Superman is feeling weak, he often turns to his friends, allies, and regular people whose lives he has changed. He often starts the Justice League because he knows he can’t handle all threats by himself. And he knows he can motivate other people to be their best selves. This brings us to Superman’s moral compass, which is another important limit to his power.
SUPERMAN IS NOT “OVERLY GOOD.”
People make fun of Superman by calling him the Big Blue Boy Scout because he is such a good Samaritan. He is friendly and helpful, and he finds a way to deal with natural disasters and supervillains while also helping regular people with everyday problems. In his Fortress of Solitude, he takes care of alien animals that have been lost or forgotten. He looks for the best in people all the time. His fight for “truth, justice, and the American way” is well-known. (By the way, the “American way” part didn’t come from the comics. It was added to the beginning of his radio show after the war.)
This last sentence has been criticized a lot, which has led many people to think that Superman’s goodness is just as fake as the idea that America is special. There have been many works that show Superman as bad, but Zach Snyder’s version of the character is aloof. His mother tells him that he “owes this Earth nothing,” and he doesn’t seem to feel bad about destroying most of a city or killing another Kryptonian.
These stories try to make Superman more real or subversive, but they don’t realize that his morals are just as perfect as his body. He is a good example of what America and people can be like at their best. He limits how he uses power in the same way that many people have shown they are willing to limit their own freedoms to stop the spread of COVID-19 or to spend their time and money in ways that help others instead of just themselves.
SUPERMAN ISN’T “FRIENDLY.”
Everyone knows how Superman got started, but since Spider-Man and Batman are always getting new movies, you could say the same thing about them. Still, there are a lot of different ways to tell a Superman story.
At the time, there was a lot of anti-Semitism in America, so Clark Kent was not written as a Jew. As time went on, the idea of Superman as an immigrant became less clear, and he became just another white man with superpowers. Even though he is Jewish, Zach Snyder used him as a Christ figure in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Anti-Semitism is on the rise today, in part because the president says that Jews who don’t vote for him are committing a “great betrayal.” It may be time to make that link more clear.
There are different ways to update the story of how Superman came to be. HBO’s Watchmen did a beautiful job of showing how Hooded Justice, the world’s first superhero, got started. May Reeves, like Kal-El, is taken away from a house that is going to blow up by his parents so that he will live. In this case, though, home is not a dying planet but a city that is being attacked by white supremacists. This is made clearer when he sees similarities between his own story and the first issue of Superman and decides to put on his own cape right away.
In the same way, the Superman in Justice League: Gods and Monsters was raised by Mexican migrant workers. He grew up in a time when it was hard for people who didn’t have papers. Given the popularity of new, more diverse versions of famous characters like Miles Morales/Spider-Man and Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, this may be the best way to show Siegel and Schuster’s original ideas about finding a place to call home and standing up for those who are being mistreated.
But there isn’t even a need for big changes. Superman’s list of bad guys is as long or longer than Batman’s in terms of threats that are still important today. He has fought against the KKK, the Nazis, and Kryptonian supremacists who thought he should rule Earth instead of just protecting it. He has had to deal with the bad AI Brainiac and the liar Glorious Godfrey. Doctor Destiny has locked him up in his worst nightmares and used his own power against him.
Superhero stories are a way to escape because they let us imagine what we would do if we could fly and were brave enough to face danger because we were bulletproof. The best ones, on the other hand, also look at what it means to be human and how we relate to power. As the first superhero movie, Superman represents the genre in its purest, most ideal form. Even though darker heroes may have made him less popular and influential, all he needs to do to regain his power and save the day again is return to the light of our golden sun.